Humphrey loves tug toys, so I decided to make him something extra special for his birthday. Check out our DIY birthday candle dog tug toy! It’s an extra special birthday toy for flame-free fun.
New to weaving? Beginner tug toy makers might prefer starting with a simple coloured tug to get comfy with the techniques before experimenting with some of our crazier projects, like this one. It can be tricky to gauge the scale if you’re unfamiliar with making tugs. In this toy you will also need to manipulate both the starting point and shape of the tug. We’ll show you how in detail below.
Weaving the DIY Birthday Candle Dog Tug Toy
The spiral weave was used in making this tug. The pictured toy is made using two wide strips for the candle (one white, one blue), woven from their midpoints (four working strands). The weaving pattern creates the spiralling colours. Just like a classic spiral birthday candle. Black fleece is later layered into the tug to create a transitional wick, followed by yellow for the candle flame. The flame is tied increasingly tighter to create the appearance of a flame tapering to the tip of the toy.
Preparing the Materials
To create your own similar birthday candle dog tug toy, you will need:
- Polar fleece or alternate fabrics
To weave a toy as shown, clean fabric is cut as follows:
- Two long strips for the body of the candle (one blue, one white).
- Two medium strips of for the flame (yellow).
- Optional: Two shorter and narrower strips for the wick (black). The wick is optional, but cute. I think it really adds to the look of the toy.
You can scale the toy to suit your dog and your materials by altering the width and/or length of the fleece strips. See our post on tug toy sizes or the notes at the end of this post for additional tips, if needed. If you are using an alternate prep or weaving option, adjust to suit. See our post on end knots for fleece tug toys for alternatives to weaving from the midpoint of two strands for creating the stick end at the bottom of the candle.
Weaving the Birthday Candle Dog Tug Toy
Weaving the spiral birthday candle:
The birthday candle is woven from the midpoint of the two long strips (blue and yellow) to create a stick end tug. It uses a spiral weaving pattern to create the spiralling colours in the body of the candle. Detailed instructions as well as additional diagrams and step-by-step photos for this weaving method are available in our comprehensive post on making spiral dog tug toys.
The two long strips form four working strands when weaving from the midpoint.
- Position the two pieces of fleece in a cross at their midpoints. This creates four working strands. Two of one colour vertical and two of the other colour horizontal.
- Weave a single starting knot.
- Flip the strands so that the pretty side of starting knot becomes the visible stick end, then continue weaving the rest of the tug.
If you find it difficult to position and start with the loose strands, you can tie the midpoints together in a small tight knot (placeholder), then position and weave the same way as above. Tie at the midpoint, position the strands, weave a single starting knot, flip the strands so that the pretty side of starting knot becomes the visible stick end, then continue weaving the rest of the tug. See our post on end knots for DIY dog tug toys to see the midpoint methods in detail.
Transitioning from the candle to the wick:
The wick is optional. If you decide to leave it out, skip this section and proceed to the instructions for the flame further below.
- Weave as above until you start to approach the end and are ready to add the wick.
- Slip your two strands of black through the working end.
- To help narrow the wick, trim one colour of your candle (I trimmed blue in example shown) so that the ends will be hidden inside your toy as you continue knotting and weaving.
- Knot the black strips tightly with the other candle strips (white in example shown) for additional strength in the joint
- Wrap the white around the top of your candle to conceal the connection point. You may find it helpful to wrap with each strip separately and pull through the toy to secure the wraps and position the ends to the inside. Wrap more than once if needed. Trim the candle strips.
- Wrap again with black just above the first wrap, making sure the candle strip ends are hidden inside.
- Weave several layers of black (either spiral weave or square box knot weave is fine here). Pull tight so that the wick appears slightly narrower than the candle body.
Transitioning from the wick to the flame:
- Slip your two strands of yellow through the working end.
- Knot the black strips tightly with the yellow strips for additional strength in the joint. Trim the black ends.
- Wrap the yellow around the connection point, looping, crossing, and knotting on opposite sides, until you have fully covered the sides of the connection and created a nice fat bottom for your flame to taper from.
- Weave the yellow (either spiral weave or square box knot weave). Start wide and pull increasingly tighter with each knotted layer so that the flame tapers.
- To finish, securely tie the yellow strands together in a tight knot. This gives a smaller end than our usual all-strand overhand loop end knot. Trim the loose ends. Finished!
🚨 Safety first, furfriends! Remember, no matter what a toy is made of or how it’s made, toys are meant for supervised interactive play. Know your dog before giving him or her any new toy. Some dogs try to eat toys or parts (whether bought or handmade) and that’s dangerous. Toys are for playing, and playtime is always safer (and more fun!) with you involved. You can read more in our dog toy safety post, including tips and helpful links for safer playtime. Have fun and play safe!